The Irrawaddy

President Calls for Justice to Be Done in Killing of Comedian

The suspects in the killing of Aung Yell Htwe arrive for a hearing at Thingangyun Township Court in Yangon on Jan. 18.

YANGON — President U Win Myint has called for a full investigation into the killing of Facebook comedian Aung Yell Htwe, a day after the case — which had been controversially dropped by Yangon officials — was ordered reopened amid a public outcry.

President’s Office Spokesperson U Zaw Htay said the president met with Union Chief Justice U Htun Htun Oo, Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo and Anti-Corruption Commission head U Aung Kyi on Tuesday morning at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw.

The president told the three to investigate the reasons for the dropping of the case and to see that justice was served in accordance with the law, U Zaw Htay wrote on his official Facebook page.

Lawyers who joined the condemnation of the release of the three murder suspects without any charges being filed said that under the Anti-Corruption Law, the approval of the court that is hearing the case and the Yangon attorney general’s office were required to continue the investigation.

Amid the initial outpouring of public criticism, President U Win Myint expressed concern about the case during a meeting with Yangon Region administrative, legislative and judicial officials at the Government Office on Sunday.

On Monday, President’s Office Spokesperson U Zaw Htay said President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had questioned officials involved in the Aung Yell Htwe case regarding the decision to drop it.

U Zaw Htay said it had been learned that Yangon Region Attorney General’s Office approved a request from the victim’s family to drop the case. The office is led by Yangon Region Attorney General U Han Htoo.

According to leaked court documents that went viral online, the region attorney general’s office stated there was no solid evidence that the three suspects kicked and beat the victim, inflicting fatal head injuries. Thus, the office approved the dropping of the case, as there were insufficient grounds to continue.

The court papers also stated that according to two brothers of Aung Yell Htwe, who served as the plaintiffs in the case, and his parents, the victim had heart disease and the incident was accidental, occurring during a party.

In light of the state leaders’ intervention, the Union Attorney General’s Office on Monday ordered the Yangon Region attorney general to annul the court-accepted decision to drop the case and to continue with the investigation at the Yangon Regional Court.